Ten Free Things To Do In San Diego, California

by admin

When it comes to visiting fun and exciting destinations in Southern California, San Diego is one of the top choices for many people, and with good reason too.  The city offers wonderful shopping opportunities, beautiful scenery, fun beaches, interesting historical sites, and access to the waters of the incredible Pacific Ocean.  Combine all those great attributes with the fact that the city also has some of the best weather in North American and it is easy to see why it routinely rates as one of the most popular travel destinations.

The city of San Diego offers a great many things to do for those that choose it as their travel destination.  Like most cities though the prices of accommodations, meals, and attractions do add up over time and it can be a relief to the vacation budget when things to do that are free are found.  Just because an event or attraction is free doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth visiting.  In fact, many of the best attractions in the world charge no admittance, and those type of attractions are available in Southern California too.  Here is a look at ten free things to do in San Diego.

Gaslamp Quarter

While the retail shops and eating establishments found in the historic Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego do cost money, meandering down the street and viewing this unique neighborhood and historically significant buildings does not.  This is one of the more interesting places to people watch too as a number of locals and visitors from outside of the area end up congregating there.  The Gaslamp Quarter stretches for more than sixteen blocks and a great deal of time can be spent exploring the entire area.

614 5th Avenue
san diego, CA 92101
(619) 233-5227

Mission Bay Park

Mission Bay Park offers more than twenty miles of connected paths that are great for walking, jogging, and even bicycling.  There are a number of areas along the paths that are perfect for relaxing either in the open sun or under a nice shade tree.  This is a great way to enjoy the water and to also see many of the waterfront businesses in the area too.

(619) 235-1169

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego


One of the locations in San Diego where visitors can see the best in local and international art with a distinctive modern flavor is the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.  This downtown museum never charges an admission and can be a welcome relief from some of the more highly attended and crowded attractions in the city.


1100 Kettner Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 814-4670

U.S. Olympic Training Center

Of particular interest to those that are athletically inclined, have an interest in sports, or have Olympic dreams themselves is the United States Olympic Training Center is San Diego.  Free tours are offered every day of the training center and visitors will be treated with an inside look at fields, tracks, athlete dorms, and other facilities as well.


2800 Olympic Parkway
Chula Vista, CA 91915-6007
(619) 656-1500

Downtown Fishing

For a visitor that has their own fishing pole, there is a wonderful tradition of downtown fishing that can be participated in.  Fishing from any of the municipal piers in the city of San Diego is free and also does not require a fishing license.

Gold Mining Tour of Julian

The historic gold mining community of Julian is located nearby in the Cuyamaca Mountains and is open to the public.  Most hotels and the Chamber of Commerce offer free self-guided tour maps so that visitors taking advantage of this very interesting attraction will not miss a thing.  There are also businesses and some development in the area that offer food, snacks, and more to those coming to the area.


Museums of Balboa Park

Balboa Park is one of the most active and fantastic urban parks in America.  It is also home to a great many museums and cultural attractions.  Every Tuesday there is no admission charged to at least one of the museums in the park during the course of the month.  A schedule of which free admission Tuesdays apply to which museums is available.  The museums participating in this free admission Tuesday promotion are the Natural History Museum, Model Railroad Museum, Museum of Art, Museum of Man, Museum of Photographic Arts, Aerospace Museum, Hall of Champions Sports Museum, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, Historical Society Museum, Museum of the Living Artist, and the Automotive Museum among others.


Tidepooling at Point Loma

Whether vacationers call it beach combing or tidepooling, there are some great discoveries available amongst the sand and rocks at beautiful Point Loma.  Here the pounding surf washes up many treasures, natural and otherwise, from the deep and deposits them in this geologically interesting shore area.  Many live sea creatures can be regularly seen along the shore here including sea anemones, octopus, crabs, and more.

Torrey Pines State Park

One of the most beautiful state parks in all of California is Torrey Pines State Park which sits high above the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  There are a number of activities available at the park including hiking, walking, children’s toys, and more.  A relaxing picnic lunch or dinner at the park is the perfect setting for a fabulous San Diego experience.  Many locals come here to watch the hang gliders fly off the cliffs and perform tricks in the strong winds found there.

La Jolla Cove

 photo by:  stevensnodgrass

 One of the most picturesque areas in all of San Diego can be found at La Jolla Cove.  Many visitors to the area may recognize the scenery here as something they have seen on postcards, in brochures, or even on television or in movies.  Evening sunsets at La Jolla Cove are particularly beautiful and a great way to end a day in San Diego.

Visiting San Diego Resources: Orbitz, Expedia

Orbitz – Offers great deals to San Diego. Be on the lookout for orbitz promotion codes to lower prices.

Expedia  – One of the top online travel agencies. Use an expedia coupon for additional discounts.

A vacation to San Diego, like a vacation anywhere else, can be somewhat expensive.  A great way for a family or travel group to make their dollar go farther is by working in a nice mix of free attractions and events as well.  This leaves more money to be spent on necessities like food, lodging, gas, and more.  This can also leave more money to be spent on much anticipated attractions that no one should miss should they come to the area.  San Diego is not only a beautiful place to head to for a vacation, but it also offers a great many free things to do too.  A visit to San Diego is the perfect choice for anyone bound for Southern California.

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